D&D 5E Monster damage realization - DPR per CR diminishes across the game

Quickleaf

Legend
Been making higher challenge monsters, and was noticing I had to really tune up their offenses compared to the existing monsters I've seen to feel like I was designing a suitable threat. That made me wonder what sort of benchmarks are built into the existing monsters as far as DPR per CR. I know damage isn't the only thing to consider, but it is A thing, and this is interesting...

I took the monster chart from Forge of Foes - they use a DPR (damage per round) which is mostly the average of the damage ranges given in the 2014 DMG page 274. It's worth noting that these values assume a monster is roughly equally balanced between defensive and offensive capability (at least whatever that means in game's maths).

I divided DPR by CR, organized the monster CRs by tier, leaving off the CR 21+ monsters for now, and here's what I found...

Tl;dr Average Damage per CR at Tier 0 (CR 1/8 to 1/2) is 21 damage... then at Tier 1 (CR 1 to CR 4) it drastically drops to about 8 damage... at Tier 2 (CR 5 to CR 10) it drops further to about 7 damage... at Tier 3 (CR 11 to CR 16) it drops further to about 6 damage... and at Tier 4 (CR 17 to CR 10) it stays about 6 damage with a minuscule drop. I'll post maths in spoilers.

This was fascinating to me, as my expectation would be the trend should go in the opposite direction – i.e. increasing damage per CR for monsters intended to challenge high-level characters.

CR 1/8 to 1/2DPRDPR per CR
0.125324
0.25520
0.51020
AVERAGE21.3333333333333

CR 1 to 4DPRDPR per CR
11212
2178.5
3237.66666666666667
4297.25
AVERAGE8.85416666666667

CR 5 to 10DPRDPR per CR
5357
6416.83333333333333
7476.71428571428571
8536.625
9596.55555555555556
10656.5
6.70469576719577

CR 11 to 16DPRDPR per CR
11716.45454545454545
12776.41666666666667
13836.38461538461538
14896.35714285714286
15956.33333333333333
161016.3125
6.37646728271728

CR 17 to 20DPRDPR per CR
171076.29411764705882
181136.27777777777778
191196.26315789473684
201326.6
6.35876332989336
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Interesting find. So it is 6 more damage per round against 4 or 5 PCs that each usually get 5 to 10 hp per level.

I remember CR to be an indicator for a deadly monster, which means that it has a good chance to drop a PC in a single hit. That damage progression seems to achieve that against the average d6 class with 14 con.
 

Funny thing: just randomly checked a monster. Found adult green dragon at CR 15 which deals exactly 95 damage when using its legendary actions for their tail attack.
 

Blue Orange

Gone to Texas
Honestly, I suspect this is on purpose: people get attached to their high-levels over time and don't want them to die.

They're running a game (or a narrative), not a simulator. They've tweaked the rules countless times and I'm sure something like this comes out in playtesting.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Mobility, action economy and legendary actions need to be considered for higher tier monsters too, not just average damage. Its the tactical use of abilities that makes a fun game not just increasing blam
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top